Rumbek Salonists Decry Harassment

Salon operators in the Lakes State capital Rumbek are up in arms over what they term “constant and unwarranted arrests” by the state public health authorities.

The operators say public health officers have been harassing them over waste disposal, saying they litter the streets with human hair and other beauty products.

However, most salonists say they have heeded the public health office’s directive on proper waste disposal and do not understand the constant harassment by the public health officers.

The number of salon operators arrested so far is not known, with most operators saying the arrests are paralysing their businesses and some are contemplating closing down.

“Some public health officers came to my salon and informed me of a meeting with the Public Health Director that was to be attended by all salonists. However, they manhandled me as they shoved me like a thief”, lamented a salonist who preferred anonymity.

Another salon operator urged the public health department to inform the salonists of any new regulations so that they do not rub shoulders with the officials.

“The charge of 250 Sudanese Pounds or five months imprisonment is unjustifiable. Moreover, the judges deliver their rulings using a language most of us don’t understand as there are no translators”, she said.

They also lamented that the public officers were targeting foreign salon operators “knowing that they are recording good business during the festive season in the run up to the New Year”.

They have called for the intervention of state authorities including the Rumbek Central County Commissioner and the State Governor.

When contacted, the Lakes State Public Health Director Makur Ater Akony refuted the claims, saying the issue has been solved.

He also denied claims that foreigners are being targeted by public health officers, saying the law applies to everyone and does not discriminate.

“Those are blatant lies and in fact some of the salon operators arrested are natives of Rumbek. I urge saloon owners and other business operators to keep their premises clean to avoid any conflict with law enforcement agencies”, said Akony.

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